Saturday, May 7, 2011

Waiting for Mr. Cerna's Return...

Douglas is in Uruguay, and while I wait with anticipation to hear about his trip to EduJam!, I've continued forging ahead - taking a look at the new offerings from Ubuntu (11.04, "Natty"), and Fedora (Fedora 15) to begin thinking how these new releases will fit into our activities for the coming Summer.

Fedora 15

The final release of Fedora 15 is only 2 1/2 weeks away, so I think an install now will smoothly 'yum update' into the final release.  I installed from the Live CD on a Dell Latitude 2100 Netbook computer. It installed without incident, and I ran 'yum update' and waited for the hundreds of packages to update (since the install was from the beta release disk).  Everything updated without incident.

I'll have to spend some time with Gnome 3 to decide how I feel about that, but what I really wanted to know was how easy it would be to get Sugar working on this system.  The answer, to my delight, was that is was easy!  It required only running the following command:

    # yum install @sugar-desktop --skip-broken sugar-emulator alacarte sugar-surf

After that I logout and choose Sugar when I logged back in.  I've only had a few minutes to explore, but what made me most excited is that everything seems to work.  When I started the Speak activity I was greeted with "Hello Jeffrey Elkner!  Type something!"  In earlier versions of Sugar sound had failed to work on these netbooks.

Sugar Labs, DC has two student interns who will be with us the last week of May and the 1st two weeks of June.  It looks like there is fun in store for them seeing what Sugar can do on our Dell netbooks.

Ubuntu Natty

I've been running Ubuntu 11.04 ("Natty") for over two months already on testing machines, and it is already installed on the machines in the CS / ICT lab at GCTAA.  What I wanted to see now is if I can use Lubuntu and RemasterSys to make a live USB image for use in our upcoming Summer 2011 Web Application Development program.

Here is what I did:

  1. I started with the mini install disk. I'm a huge fan of this little disk image since it provides tremendous flexibility and ease of use.  From this one disk you can install standard ubuntu, command-line only server, kubuntu, xubuntu, or lubuntu (and any other version with a "[distro name]-desktop" meta-package).  To have get this flexibility, select "Help" from the opening menu, press for boot options, type "cli" at the "boot:" prompt, and press enter.
  2. I installed using the "cli" option on a VirtualBox machine (running under my regular Natty desktop.  Starting the machine after the install, I needed to press ALT-F1 (or F2..F6) to get a console prompt.  We noticed this problem earlier on other machines using the cli install option from the mini disk. I don't know if this apparent bug has been reported.  I'll check with Matt next week and take appropriate action.  Anyway, after pressing ALT-F1 to get a login prompt, I logged in and ran:  sudo aptitude install lubuntu-desktop .  It is the ease of use of these metapackages that make the mini cd so useful.
  3. The ose (open source edition) of VirtualBox that comes with Natty works like a charm.  I didn't need to install the guest editions that used to be required to support the video driver.  It just worked.  Once the lubuntu desktop finished installing, I added: deb karmic/ to the apt sources list and installed remastersys.
  4. One small annoyance is that I needed to set a root password to get either the synaptic package manger or the remastersys-gui to run after launching them from the menu.  If I recall correctly, this doesn't happen if you install lubuntu from the lubuntu installation cd instead of using the lubuntu-desktop metapackage on a cli install from the mini cd.  (Note to self: confirm this and report the problem if appropriate).
  5. I made a bootable live usb stick from a netbook running lubuntu with remastersys installed.  That machine does not have the system tools authentication problem.  I was able to install on a virtualbox and to a usb stick with the image.
That's all for today.  I think today is Douglas's last day in Uruguay.  I'm looking forward to talking to him when he returns!

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